Holidays can be tricky these days with so many people eating different diets. It can get stressful and time consuming to try and make things that are suitable for everyone. I’m a big believer in everyone being able to eat everything that is served and it doesn’t have to be as stressful or complicated as it might seem. It’s all about simplifying.
For example: If someone is eating gluten-free why not just make custard cups instead of pie? You still get the enjoyment of pumpkin pie without fiddling with a finicky gluten-free pie dough. If someone is eating dairy-free why not forgo the whipped cream and top it with a delicious brown sugar meringue instead?
This dessert is meant to please the masses at a family gathering, regardless of allergies (save for eggs, that’s a hard one to beat with custard and meringue). It is also lower in processed sugar, which is always a bonus. It’s highly adaptable to how you want to make it. Last year I baked it in a gluten-free pie crust and topped it with dairy-free whipped topping. Everyone who tried it said it was THE BEST pumpkin pie they had ever tasted, gluten-free/dairy-free eaters and not.
Now, let me give you some options so you can make this pie to suit your own needs or event. You can make this in full pie format with a regular pie crust or with a gluten-free pie crust. Or, make it as I did this time around and forgo the pie crust altogether and bake little custard cups instead. If meringue isn’t your thing you can also top it with whipped cream or coconut (dairy-free) whipped cream. There are instructions for all of these options below.
I hope all you lovely Canadians have a fantastic Thanksgiving weekend! Enjoy the fall leaves while they’re still here!
Maple Pumpkin Pie with Brown Sugar Meringue
Instead of the meringue you may also top this with whipped cream or coconut whipped cream. Simply skip any directions that involve the meringue topping and refrigerate the pies after cooling. Top with whipped cream just before serving.
- 1 3/4 cup (or 1, 15 oz can) pumpkin
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2/3 cup almond milk (or preferred milk)
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
Brown Sugar Meringue
- 3 egg whites
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
For pie filling: Whisk together pumpkin, sugar, ginger, cinnamon, and salt. Add eggs and whisk gently just until combined. Gradually whisk in milk and maple syrup.
For meringue: Place egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer. Allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Add vanilla, cream of tartar and salt. Beat on medium speed, with whip attachment, until soft peaks form (forms peaks when beater is lifted that fall over). Gradually add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating at high speed until stiff peaks form (forms peaks when beater is lifted that hold their shape).
To bake in a pie shell: Pour pie filling into a 9-inch unbaked pie crust (gluten-free or not). Bake at 450ºF for 10 minutes, lower the temperature to 350ºF and bake for 40-45 min, or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Top with meringue and bake an additional 15 minutes, or until meringue is golden brown. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely* before storing lightly covered in the fridge.
To bake in ramekins or jars: Divide pie filling between 8, 1/2 pint jars or 6 oz. ramekins. Place jars into two baking trays with two inch tall sides. Carefully pour boiling hot water into the pans to come 1 inch up the sides of the jars. Carefully move to the oven and bake at 375ºF for 30-35 minutes, or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Remove from oven. Lower heat to 350ºF. Divide meringue between jars, place back in the oven and bake 10-12 minutes, or until meringue is golden brown. Carefully remove the jars from the water and place on a wire wrack to cool completely*. Store lightly covered in the fridge.
If desired top pie with a drizzle of maple syrup just before serving. This will help hide any droplets that may form from condensation in the fridge.
*Because of the eggs in the meringue, do not leave at room temperature for more then 2 hours.
Makes: 8 servings
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens.